A Skilled JACKSONVILLE Family Law Attorney
Family law is the area of law that deals with divorce and child custody issues. In Florida, a divorce will deal with all the family problems, including division of property and debts, alimony, establishing a parenting plan with timesharing and child support. In family court, we also deal with contempt for violating court orders on child support or alimony. Family law also covers enforcement of a settlement agreement or parenting plan. Finally, in family law, we handle prenuptial agreements, and modifications of parenting plans, child support, and alimony. In general, family law deals with these issues.
I will work closely with you to understand your situation and identify the best outcomes in your case while assisting you in navigating the complicated processes of the family court system in Florida.
Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
One of the first things a family court judge will do in any divorce proceeding is determining which property that is owned by the parties is considered marital property and which property is considered non-marital property. This process is of particular importance in cases involving spouses with multiple assets, businesses, and high-value assets, because under Fla.Stat.§61.075, a family court is required to distribute marital property under the rules and procedures of equitable distribution. However, non-marital property, which you acquired before the marriage, is returned to its original owner.
Some common examples of non-marital property under Fla.Stat.§61.075(6)(b) are:
- Assets and liabilities incurred by either party before the marriage
- Assets acquired and obligations incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities
- Income derived from non-marital assets during the marriage unless the income was used and relied upon during the marriage
As such, you should gather any documentation in your possession to support your entitlement to your non-marital property, such as car titles, financial statements from your business, proof of homeownership, etc. This information will be used by your family law attorney to define which property is the non-marital property and which property is marital.
After a divorce, there is often one spouse who is left with less financial support after their previous living situation, and shared income is changed. An alimony proceeding in Florida addresses this issue by determining which spouse was the primary earner in the household, whether or not the other spouse will be left in an unstable situation because of the divorce. If so, how much the primary earner should pay for alimony. You or your spouse will only receive alimony payments for a limited period, and these payments are meant to give you or your spouse some time to get on your feet and establish your financial independence. If you are planning on filing for divorce or are in the process of a divorce and are concerned about your finances, then alimony is an essential option for you to understand and consider.
In Florida, child support is governed by a formula that considers each party’s income and the number of overnights each parent has with the child. Child support cannot be waived, and it cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. I will work hard to ensure that you have the financial support you need to give your children the life they deserve. If you are required to pay child support following your divorce, I will make sure that your payments are fair and reasonable so that you can maintain your financial stability while ensuring that your children are financially supported.
Aside from the many issues that arise during a divorce, the actual divorce proceeding can be complicated depending on each spouse’s situation and the position they are taking throughout the process. In many cases, spouses can reach an amicable agreement through mediation and file for an uncontested divorce. In other cases, both parties will be forced to contest the divorce and go through a full hearing.
In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, and as a result, the case will generally go to a contested hearing with a family court judge. The judge is the person who will decide issues such as the distribution of marital property, custody arrangements, alimony, etc. Typically, I will work to try and reach a divorce agreement that both parties are satisfied with an effort to avoid a trial. Still, I have handled hundreds of contested hearings throughout my career as a Florida family law attorney. As such, if your case needs to be taken to a trial, you can confidently go into the hearing with the knowledge that your lawyer has the experience required to build the best case possible in your unique scenario.
An uncontested divorce is a much simpler approach. In an uncontested divorce, both parties typically agree on most of the significant issues through mediation or some other type of mutually acceptable agreement. They can finalize them without the ruling of a family law judge.
Mediation is mandatory before trial unless the parties settle before the mediation. In mediation, both parties and their respective attorneys will meet with a neutral third party called a mediator who will try to negotiate a settlement agreement that is acceptable to both parties. If you can reach a settlement agreement through mediation, you will be able to avoid a full contested hearing, and as a result, an extensive amount of time and legal fees.
I will work with your spouse’s lawyer to address each aspect of the divorce and find a fair and equitable outcome that satisfies you. When dealing with this option, it is beneficial to have the assistance of a family law professional with lots of experience in negotiating family law cases. Your goal in mediation is to reach an agreement that is reasonable and protects your financial interests.
If you are planning to marry, you may have heard of prenuptial agreements. These agreements are becoming more common in Florida marriages because they act as a protective measure for each spouse in a worst-case scenario. Florida has specific rules regarding prenuptial agreements, which is why hiring a family law attorney with experience in drafting prenuptial agreements is essential. For example, under Fla.Stat.61.079(3), prenuptial agreements have to be in writing and signed by both parties, and the prenuptial agreement becomes enforceable once the parties are married. A prenuptial agreement could be a great option in many respects because entering into a prenuptial agreement can avoid a lot of unnecessary issues if the marriage were to end ultimately. However, there are several legal requirements a prenuptial agreement must meet under Florida law to be enforceable. As such, hiring an attorney to draft your prenuptial agreement can prove to be an invaluable investment that will ensure that the agreement is enforceable in court.
Contact Me Today
If you need help with anything in Florida’s family court system, contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. During your consultation, I will discuss your situation, explain how I can help, and identify the legal remedies available in your family law case. No matter the circumstances, it is always good to obtain the services of a licensed professional who will ensure that you are protected in any family law dispute. So don’t wait until your divorce has become unmanageable.
About the Firm
Florida Divorce Law Group was founded by Antonio Jimenez, who is an experienced divorce and family law attorney assisting clients in Jacksonville, FL. If you need an attorney that will aggressively protect your rights, you can count on Antonio to help. Antonio prides himself on his ability to accurately advise you of the best course of action to meet your particular needs. If you need legal assistance on a family law matter, call him directly at 904-944-5663 for a free phone consultation with Antonio or an online virtual meeting.